- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Secures Resolutions With Five Nursing Homes Over Claims of Patient Neglect, Inadequate Care of Residents
Thomas Dalton, Deputy Press Secretary
BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has secured settlements with five Massachusetts nursing homes to resolve allegations of patient neglect, insufficient staff training, and inadequate care for vulnerable nursing home residents. These cases involved preventable harm and, in some situations, the deaths of nursing home residents.
The settlements will return more than $250,000 to the state, including more than half to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Long Term Care Facility Quality Improvement Fund. The settlements also require important training and compliance requirements to ensure patient safety and proper response to medical emergencies moving forward.
“Residents of long-term care facilities across Massachusetts and their families deserve to feel confident that every resident will be cared for and protected,” said AG Healey. “We took action against these facilities to ensure that nursing home residents are provided the best possible care, and to secure the safety and training protocols needed to avoid preventable harm.”
The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division reached settlements with the following nursing homes:
Brandon Woods, New Bedford
Brandon Woods will pay $52,000 to resolve allegations that in 2018, facility staff failed to appropriately turn and reposition a resident at high risk for pressure wounds for over five weeks. The patient experienced rapid health declines related to the pressure injuries and was admitted to the hospital where she died.
The agreement also requires a compliance program to ensure staff is trained as part of new staff orientation programs and semi-annually on the appropriate provision and documentation of preventative skin care and repositioning, as well as annual self-audits and certifications of compliance.
Heritage Hall North, Agawam
Heritage Hall North failed to comply with long-term care regulations requiring facilities to train staff and maintain a program of preventative skin care; failed to comply with long-term care regulations and provide quality care to residents; and committed the wanton or reckless neglect of a resident during her post-surgery rehabilitation, resulting in medically avoidable pressure injuries.
Heritage Hall North agreed to pay $55,175 to resolve the allegations. The agreement also requires a three-year compliance program to ensure facility staff are trained on preventative skin care, as well as self-audits and certifications of compliance.
Heritage Hall West, Agawam
Investigators determined that Heritage Hall West failed to conduct any Code Blue (patient medical emergency) trainings between May 13, 2016 and July 10, 2019, and failed to adequately conduct mock automated external defibrillator (AED) drills for its nursing staff from September 16, 2016, through July 10, 2019.
Heritage Hall West will pay $33,725 and enter into a three-year compliance program to ensure facility staff receive mock code training on an annual basis and as part of new staff orientation programs, as well as self-audits and certifications of compliance.
Sarah Brayton Nursing Center, Fall River
Sarah Brayton Nursing Center will pay $81,500 to resolve allegations that it failed to properly implement its continence care protocol for more than 10 residents or ensure staff competencies in bowel management protocols. The facility also failed to provide adequate and appropriate care to one patient resulting in her hospitalization and death due to severe fecal impaction.
Wingate at Silver Lake, Kingston
Investigators allege that Wingate failed to ensure that its staff was CPR certified and trained on emergency response protocols and procedures. Wingate also failed to report the significant health declines of one resident to a physician. Later, the facility failed to respond appropriately to that resident’s medical emergency or render proper CPR, and the resident died.
Wingate will pay $30,000 under the terms of the settlement agreement, which also requires a compliance program to ensure that staff provide all appropriate services to residents and adequately respond to medical emergencies.
AG Healey is committed to policy reform to help ensure the care and safety of nursing home residents in Massachusetts, which is why last year, she filed “An Act strengthening the Attorney General’s tools to protect nursing home residents and other long-term care patients from abuse and neglect,” with co-sponsors Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Ruth Balser.
This legislation strengthens the civil enforcement tools used by the AG’s Office to address abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled patients, whether they are cared for at home or in nursing homes. The bill increases the civil penalties that the office can seek for the mistreatment, abuse, or neglect of nursing home and long-term care residents or recipients of home health services. The bill is currently under review by the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.
The settlements were handled by Division Chief Toby Unger, Managing Attorney Gregory Matthews, and Assistant Attorney General William Champlin of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division following investigations conducted by Senior Healthcare Fraud Investigator Erica Schlain and Nurse Investigator Barbara Edwards. The Medicaid Fraud Division also received assistance with the Brandon Woods investigation from Bristol County Assistant Attorney Matthew Friedel, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Hollis Crowley, and Detective Shawn Robert of the New Bedford Police Department.
The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award. The remaining 25 percent is funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Members of the public who are aware of similar circumstances in long-term care facilities, nursing homes or other health care providers should call the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at (617) 963-2360 or file a complaint through the Attorney General’s website.